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Statistics published by the European Commission reveal that slightly more than 16 million applications for short-stay visas were lodged at the consulates of the Schengen States in 2018, a very small decrease of 1% compared to 2017. This was driven by a decline in the number of applications in the Russian Federation, which decreased almost 5% to 3.7 million, although Russia remains by far the top source country for Schengen visa applications. The first full year of the visa waiver for Ukrainian nationals holding biometric passports also explained the overall decrease, with applications in Ukraine plummeting by 73% to 190 000. The number of applications lodged in Belarus (680 000, -4.8%), Turkey (880 000, -9.5%) and Algeria (710 000, -8.8%) also showed substantial decreases.
By contrast, strong growth in demand continued in China, with 2.8 million applications representing an increase of 11.3% over 2017. Applications lodged in India surpassed the 1-million-mark for the first time, registering an increase of 17.4% and overtaking Turkey as the third most important source country for Schengen visa applications. Growing numbers of visa applications were also lodged in Morocco (660 000, +7.8%), Saudi Arabia (360 000, +7.6%), Thailand (330 000, +9.3%) and Iran (270 000, +3.3%).
The percentage of applications that were refused varied widely and ranged from less than 2% (Belarus, Indonesia and Russia) to more than 35% (Algeria, Central African Republic, Comoros, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Nigeria and Senegal). Worldwide, 9.6% of all visa applications were refused, 1.4 percentage points more than in 2017. 58% of visas issued in 2018 allowed for multiple entries into the Schengen area, a similar figure as 2017.
In addition to the 14.3 million visas issued at consulates, in 2018 the Schengen States also issued 66 000 uniform visas at the external borders.
Please check the full Schengen visa statistics since 2010.